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'Now no one can call me a terrorist's father'

Gopinathan Pillai, the father of Pranesh Kumar Pillai alias Javed Shaikh who was killed allegedly by police in a staged shootout in Ahmedabad in 2004, said Monday he is a much relieved man in the wake of the Special Investigation Team telling the Gujarat High Court that the shootout was not genuine.

Gopinathan Pillai and the mother of another person shot dead by police in the shootout had sought an inquiry by a SIT.

"I am a much relieved person because with this none will accuse me as the father of a terrorist," Pillai told the media here after hearing the news.

"For nearly seven years I have been fighting this case and have made trips to Gujarat to clear the issue that my son is not a terrorist and now I am so happy that the truth has come out," said Pillai.

Javed who embraced Islam to marry a Muslim woman was shot dead along with three others in a staged shootout with the Gujarat police in Ahmedabad.

The police then had alleged they were Lashkar-e-Taiba activists on a mission to kill Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

College student Ishrat Jahan (19), Javed Sheikh alias Pranesh Pillai, Amjad Ali Rana and Zeeshan Johar were allegedly killed in a police shootout on June 15, 2004.

"I later came to know that my son was in the custody of the police there for four days and was put up in a farm house and interrogated. Maybe he would not have agreed to confess to the police that he is a terrorist and hence the police took him to the streets and shot him dead to make it look like an encounter," added Pillai.

"I will now have to speak to my advocate and then only speak on this," said Pillai.

His son's wife and their children now live in Pune, where she works as a teacher.

The SIT Monday told the Gujarat High Court that the shootout in which college student Ishrat Jahan was killed was not genuine. The court has ordered filing of new FIR against the police officers who were involved in the 'fake' shootout case. The SIT has also informed the court that Ishrat and three others were killed before the date of encounter on June 15, 2004.

The Gujarat high court on Oct 7 asked the SIT to submit its final report by Nov 18. SIT's new chairman R.R. Verma had taken over the probe.

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